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Music of Frederic Rzewski

  • Pocket Symphony (2000)
  • Les Moutons de Panurge (1969)
  • Coming Together (1971/2003)
Eighth Blackbird
Cedille Records CDR90000084 57:07
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This attractively produced CD is a useful pendant to the recommended boxed set Frederic Rzewski's Piano Works 1975-1999 (Nonesuch 755979623-2), which includes 36 miles of his accumulating journey The Road.

The important political tract Coming Together (1971) has as text a letter by one of the organizers of the Attica, New York prison riots in which he was killed: "I think the combination of age and a greater coming together is responsible for the speed of the passing time. It's six months now, and I can tell you truthfully few periods in my life have passed so quickly. I am in excellent physical and emotional health. There are doubtless subtle surprises ahead, but I feel secure and ready…".

They are repeated again and again and the work is given here as elaborated by Matt Albert (2000/2003) in a version approved by the composer for Albert's theatre-music chamber group Eighth Blackbird, mounting to a hysterical climax. Rzewski, in the interviews which form the liner notes, tells how he admired their theatricality in the new version, and also "all of this sexual energy", with improvisation and silence, in the Pocket Symphony. He also describes having noted down a tune near Paris which became elaborated ("not really rehearsed") into the Rabelais/Panurge fable for performance in Amsterdam. Definitely worth exploring.

Copyright © 2006, Peter Grahame Woolf